cakesbyamym Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 3:09pm
post #1 of

Here is my situation....I am having to remind brides two and three times about their balances being due.

When I conduct the bridal consultation, I am firm about telling them that all balances are due on/before 30 days prior to the event date, or the event will be cancelled. Again, in the contract, there is a stipulation reminding them of the above. I have had TWO brides to pay on time this entire year. TWO...out of twenty? Ridiculous. This follows two weeks prior to the due date...an e-mail reminder. One week prior to the due date...an e-mail reminder. I've had it.

My husband says to do what the contract states and cancel the event, and if they'd like to pay a late fee, along with the balance due, then to do that.

Anyone have any suggestions or how do YOU handle this? I've had no problems at all with wedding balances in years past - other than one here and there.

Thanks so much!
Amy

95 replies
Wesha Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 3:58pm
post #2 of

Simple,

No final payment, no cake. Stick to your contract.

tiggy2 Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 4:05pm
post #3 of

Maybe add a clause to your contract that states: "Payments received after due date will be cash only and $100 will be added to reinstate contract".

Deb_ Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 4:31pm
post #4 of

You definitely need to enforce your contract. Send a "notice of cancellation for unpaid balance" e-mail and letter to their home along with a phone call.

Be sure you copy and save your letter and e-mail and be sure it is very clear that you will not be baking them their cake since they failed to meet the payment deadline.

Yes, I have had to do this, but only 2 times in all the years I've been selling cakes. Both times I never heard from the couple again, they either forgot that they paid me a down payment or they just didn't care. I kept the deposits.


I haven't had this problem with my cake business lately but I have at my hair salon. I've had people who are sitting in my chair say to me "can I post date my check to next Friday, that's when I get paid?"

First of all, I don't even accept checks and secondly why the heck would you come in for a color or haircut if you knew damn well that you didn't have the money for it?

My answer is "Sorry, I can't post date my rent check, so you'll need to reschedule when you have the money or I accept credit cards"

I just can't believe the nerve of some people nowadays. icon_rolleyes.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 4:43pm
post #5 of

I'm going to throw my two cents in here. Does anyone get the feeling that businesses without an actual storefront don't get taken as seriously as real bakeries? Not that you might not have a storefront, but I get a feeling that sometimes people just think of us as "cake ladies". I lost a job to another "cake lady" the other day (bride's words, NOT mine), I could care less about the job, she's a huge flake anyways, so I was glad. What infuriated me was the reference to "cake lady". It's so disrespectful. Like, "oh, cute little cake lady, I can pay her whenever. She's just waiting at home knitting between cakes." URG!!!

countrycakes Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 5:03pm
post #6 of

thumbsdown.gificon_mad.gif cakesbyamym....I would be reinforcing that contract like has been stated here! I visited your website....GORGEOUS WORK, by the way! icon_smile.gif
You have been given some excellent advice and ideas and I would put them in effect TODAY. icon_wink.gif

I like the ideas that you have gotten here...and I would let them know, no payment, no cake..and add the late fees as well. They have to pay their electric or phone bills on time, or they get no service....same goes for the cake!

_Jamie_ you hit the nail on the head to a 'T'. I TOTALLY AGREE with your statement. thumbs_up.gif

Loucinda Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 5:05pm
post #7 of

I have a legal home bakery, and usually am not offended by being called the "cake lady". icon_wink.gificon_smile.gif

I have that same clause in my contract - and it has never been an issue - I have not even had to remind my brides that their time for payment is close. (mine is due 30 days before the event).

Are you in an area that has been particularly hard hit by the economy (big businesses closing down/job losses??)

I go over my contract and make sure they initial the part about the payment due date - not sure if that helps you or not.

Good luck!

cakesbyamym Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 6:03pm
post #8 of

Thanks so very much for the input everyone.

I have sent the bride another e-mail letting her know that as of today....no payment in today's mail either....her cake order would be cancelled. I added that if she chose to reinstate the contract and order, there would be a $100 late fee due in addition to the final balance. If I don't receive both by Wednesday of this week, no cake would be made/delivered for her wedding.

From now on, I will make the clients who book sign a preliminary agreement stating that they understand that their balance is due in full by the 30 day mark prior to their date, or no cake will be delivered. No late fee. No nothing. I'm not running a daycare. I shouldn't have to check behind brides. If it's important enough to them, they'll remember to pay for it. God knows, I don't "forget" about my mortgage payment. icon_smile.gif

Thanks again!!!!

Mensch Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 6:19pm
post #9 of

Any news! icon_biggrin.gif

patticakesnc Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 6:19pm

Amy how about making it in your contract where they have to initial beside a paragraph stating they undertand the payment set up and include another line for them to initial agreeing to the late fee. I feel people are more pron to "READ" an area if they have to initial it.

Also I have been meaning to email you. Linda and myself are starting a bakers group and we are going to have monthly get togethers. Didn't know if you have time to come join in. There are 5 of us right now going to get together and swap tips, stories, etc. Let me know what you think. Our first get together is July 11th and we plan on doing it in Conover right now.

sari66 Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 6:25pm

If you have a set time in your contract then you need to stick to it. Send a reminder email and a phone call if you wish then cancel if you don't hear from them in a set time.

cakesbyamym Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 6:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by patticakesnc

Amy how about making it in your contract where they have to initial beside a paragraph stating they undertand the payment set up and include another line for them to initial agreeing to the late fee. I feel people are more pron to "READ" an area if they have to initial it.

Also I have been meaning to email you. Linda and myself are starting a bakers group and we are going to have monthly get togethers. Didn't know if you have time to come join in. There are 5 of us right now going to get together and swap tips, stories, etc. Let me know what you think. Our first get together is July 11th and we plan on doing it in Conover right now.




I'd be VERY interested to join the group. I couldn't do 7/11; however. I have a wedding that day, and am also a guest. icon_sad.gif Please let me know of the next date, and I'll do my best to be there. Thanks for the invite!

aliciag829 Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 6:32pm

The whole thing about reinstating might become tricky. What if they didn't pay by the 30 day before the event mark, so then you booked another event, then they tried to pay you the late fee for their cake? So if you wanted to do a small time window of when they could pay that late fee and still get their cake made, I could see that. Like 24 or 48 hours or something after the 30 day mark before the event. Who wants to have to wait on other people??

cakesbyamym Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 6:33pm

I haven't heard anything back from the bride. No surprise since I didn't receive a reply from either of my previous reminders either. That's okay. The booking deposit is non-refundable. I'll definitely be spending some extra time on my contract tonight to cater it more to occasions such as this. As far as I'm concerned....I'm doing her a favor by extending the payment due date to Wednesday. We'll see what happens.

cakesbyamym Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 6:35pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by aliciag829

The whole thing about reinstating might become tricky. What if they didn't pay by the 30 day before the event mark, so then you booked another event, then they tried to pay you the late fee for their cake? So if you wanted to do a small time window of when they could pay that late fee and still get their cake made, I could see that. Like 24 or 48 hours or something after the 30 day mark before the event. Who wants to have to wait on other people??




I thought about that. That's why after this particular bride, I will NOT offer any extensions or late payment options. It's either paid by the 30-day mark or no wedding cake. I need to know that if the $$$ isn't here on time, that I have time to schedule other orders.

CakeForte Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 6:51pm

Yes. I have implemented a late fee as well. I include some buffer time prior to the event.

If I receive payment within that buffer time, it's the balance plus the late fee. Thankfully I have not had to NOT make a cake for someone b/c they were late.

snarkybaker Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 6:52pm

Gotta tell you, I would caution a bride against doing business with a business that demanded payment in full that far in advance. It is a sign of a business with poor cash management, and that is indicative of a business likely to fail in a down economy.

Caterers and other wedding professionals typically get final payment no more than two weeks ahead of time, and my guess is that you would have better success in getting payment on time if your policies were more like other wedding vendors.

With the policies you have currently, I wouldn't ever even consider having you as a baker.

Deb_ Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 6:53pm

I agree about the "late fee extension". If some people see that they CAN pay late, they most likely will even if it means it'll cost them more $$.

I think it's very important to stick to the original contract that they signed.

Good luck with this one!

P.S. One of my family members thought they were being cute one day as I was carrying in a cake to a family party she said "Oh here's the Cake Lady"......................I wasn't amused. I hate that name!

cakesbyamym Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 7:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by snarkybaker

Gotta tell you, I would caution a bride against doing business with a business that demanded payment in full that far in advance. It is a sign of a business with poor cash management, and that is indicative of a business likely to fail in a down economy.

Caterers and other wedding professionals typically get final payment no more than two weeks ahead of time, and my guess is that you would have better success in getting payment on time if your policies were more like other wedding vendors.

With the policies you have currently, I wouldn't ever even consider having you as a baker.




WOW... icon_eek.gif My policies are exactly that...MY policies. I have had little trouble at all until this year with the brides. I am not hurting financially. I just don't like waiting for the last minute to have payment in hand. If someone can't plan far enough in advance to pay for their wedding cake, then they're welcome to go elsewhere, but I will abide by my personal policies.

__Jamie__ Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 7:05pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

P.S. One of my family members thought they were being cute one day as I was carrying in a cake to a family party she said "Oh here's the Cake Lady"......................I wasn't amused. I hate that name!




A-flipping-men buddy. Could there be a more unprofessional term to use or what?? icon_mad.gif

angelcakes5 Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 7:07pm

I agree with the original poster timeline. Usually that month they know how many guest they will have. Most of my brides want to get the cake payed for in advance anyways. Who wants to pay at the last minute? Unless they dont have the money and I dont want to worry about getting bounced checks. Stick to your guns and your contract.

JulyMama Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 7:11pm

Just a thought, maybe she didn't get the emails? did you try calling her?
I agree with your contract, if I didn't have the payment I would cancel, did you hear back from her yet?

loriemoms Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 7:12pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

I'm going to throw my two cents in here. Does anyone get the feeling that businesses without an actual storefront don't get taken as seriously as real bakeries? Not that you might not have a storefront, but I get a feeling that sometimes people just think of us as "cake ladies". I lost a job to another "cake lady" the other day (bride's words, NOT mine), I could care less about the job, she's a huge flake anyways, so I was glad. What infuriated me was the reference to "cake lady". It's so disrespectful. Like, "oh, cute little cake lady, I can pay her whenever. She's just waiting at home knitting between cakes." URG!!!




I havent read the rest of the thread yet, but I had to comment on this...because I think you are very correct! Even though I am fully licensed, insured, inspected, injected, and pay through the nose for all these things, I bake from a commerical kitchen in my home. (if you walked into my space, you would never thinik you were still in a house) yet I am treated like I am not a real business and not a real bakery, and not taken seriously. I get calls all the time on the phone asking "Are you a real bakery or bake from home?" I answer "yes". People think I will give a discount because I have "low overhead". I don't pay high rent, but I pay just as much in insurance, fees, taxes, licensing, utilities, trash pickup and advertising. I even have to pay more for my basic ingredients because many companies won't deliver to me.

I dont mean to start a bakery vs home bakery discussion: I have been seriously thinking of moving into a commerical space because I just dont have room anymore at my home, so no offense to store front bakeries! Back to the original post, I do think some brides don't take us seriously and we get paid last. They dont think we have lawyers or that our contracts are legit, for some odd reason. But I also think that with todays economy, brides are spending too much and then don't have the money to pay thier final bill. I have had two weddings canceled this year because "we couldn't afford the wedding" (one or both of them were laid off) Its sad.

snarkybaker Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 7:57pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbyamym

Quote:
Originally Posted by snarkybaker

Gotta tell you, I would caution a bride against doing business with a business that demanded payment in full that far in advance. It is a sign of a business with poor cash management, and that is indicative of a business likely to fail in a down economy.

Caterers and other wedding professionals typically get final payment no more than two weeks ahead of time, and my guess is that you would have better success in getting payment on time if your policies were more like other wedding vendors.

With the policies you have currently, I wouldn't ever even consider having you as a baker.



WOW... icon_eek.gif My policies are exactly that...MY policies. I have had little trouble at all until this year with the brides. I am not hurting financially. I just don't like waiting for the last minute to have payment in hand. If someone can't plan far enough in advance to pay for their wedding cake, then they're welcome to go elsewhere, but I will abide by my personal policies.





As a business person, if I saw a contract like that, I would assume I wasn't dealing with a professional business, but with a home baker who was running a business on a shoestring and couldn't afford the ingredients etc for my cake until she got my money. That is something that would make me nervous.

I just spoke at a seminar ( My husband is an MBA, and we do a lot of " industry" lectures etc. on business practices.)

I just did a talk on the effects of the economy. Brides in NC are booking later and spending about 10-15% less than they did last year. They are also paying later and/or using credit more than last year.

I am just going to venture a guess that you don't take credit cards, so that leaves brides ( or their parents) having to wait for an additional paycheck before they can pay you.

North Carolina has some of the highest unemployment in the country, and so people are really struggling. You are welcome to run your business using whatever policies you choose, but if you are difficult to do business with, you will get less business. And wait 'til you see the effect on your business the first time you cancel a brides cake for not paying A MONTH in advance. It is not a reasonable policy, and my prediction is that it will cost you business.

angelcakes5 Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 8:41pm

Wow - thats what wrong with this world today, credit cards!

Deb_ Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 9:06pm

I think everyone's policy is their business. Do what you're comfortable with.

Around here payment in full 30 days before any event has been industry standard since I was married over 25 yrs ago. I know, we paid for our own wedding..........and we didn't need to charge it on a credit card either. icon_smile.gif That's just wrong............. icon_rolleyes.gif

angelcakes...........you hit the nail right on the head!

cakesbyamym Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 9:22pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

I think everyone's policy is their business. Do what you're comfortable with.

Around here payment in full 30 days before any event has been industry standard since I was married over 25 yrs ago. I know, we paid for our own wedding..........and we didn't need to charge it on a credit card either. icon_smile.gif That's just wrong............. icon_rolleyes.gif

angelcakes...........you hit the nail right on the head!




I agree! thumbs_up.gif When we were married almost 17 years ago (ages 19 and 21 at the time), we paid for our own wedding. We didn't expect our parents to pay for it. In addition, our florist, etc., all expected payment 30 days prior. Just as my brides know my policy, we understood what was expected of us. If we were hurting financially, we'd have cut back what was ordered.

snarkybaker Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 9:35pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbyamym

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

I think everyone's policy is their business. Do what you're comfortable with.

Around here payment in full 30 days before any event has been industry standard since I was married over 25 yrs ago. I know, we paid for our own wedding..........and we didn't need to charge it on a credit card either. icon_smile.gif That's just wrong............. icon_rolleyes.gif

angelcakes...........you hit the nail right on the head!



I agree! thumbs_up.gif When we were married almost 17 years ago (ages 19 and 21 at the time), we paid for our own wedding. We didn't expect our parents to pay for it. In addition, our florist, etc., all expected payment 30 days prior. Just as my brides know my policy, we understood what was expected of us. If we were hurting financially, we'd have cut back what was ordered.




Yep, you guys were both married in the age before " the Knot". Brides today don't cut back nearly as much as they should if Suzy Ormond were giving them advice. They are more likely to charge things and those that can't charge things may be having to scrimp a little to pay you off.

If you want to do business with brides, you'd better get familiar with the way brides do business. I'm betting your policies are costing you money in the long run.

cakesbyamym Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 9:55pm

I've been in business for myself...a successful and growing business...for 3 years. I do 25-35 weddings per year, in addition to staying busy with other orders. I'm doing fine, and have no plans to adjust my business ethics and policies. In addition, I have to turn away orders/weddings due to health complications. I'm doing just fine.

cakesbyamym Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 9:56pm

Thank you to those that offered the advice based on my original post.

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